What is Sassa? Sassa stands for South African Social Security Agency. Everyone who lives in South Africa must know about the grants that offered by the SASSA. The Sassa was first created in 2005 and stands for South African Social Security Agency. Sassa was created according to the Sassa Agency Act (Act No 9 of 2004). This Act is officially announced as an English text signed by the President (Assented to 30 May 2004.). The South African Social Security Agency is subject to the Public Finance Management Act, of 1999 (Act No. 1 of 1999). Social assistance in South Africa has been administered by SASSA.
The objective of Sassa is to provide social security services to protect people from vulnerability and poverty through the constitutional and legislative framework. The Social Assistance Act, of 2004 acts as the national legislative framework through which efficient and effective management. administration and payment of social grants become possible. It also renders and governs all services relating to grants from applying to payment methods. Sassa officials are always there for guidance. Lund (2002:683) states that the South African system of state social assistance providers targets the old people, people with disabilities (physical or mental), children(under 18), and families (who are in a situation of unemployment or disaster). Further says that this grant was first announced for white people in the first half
of the last century and then gradually increases in the whole of South Africa.
According to Kaseke (2010:161), there are three different schemes that are:
Unemployment insurance (under the terms of the Act No. 63 of 2001)
Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Fund (in terms of the Act No. 130 of 1993)
Road Accident Fund (protect against the risk of road accident victims, announced by Kaseke, 2010:161)
Note: The unemployment Insurance is not for non-South African citizens or civil employers.
SASSA ORIGIN (When is Sassa?)
All the responsibilities of social assistance grants (like management, administration, and payment) were transferred to Sassa on the 01st of April 2006. the social assistance functions were performed within the Department of Social Development nationally and provincially before 2006. However, the national department was unable to perform administrative functions uniformity within the provinces despite the provincial department’s independence. Then the provincial social assistance functions were integrated through a Service Agreement between the national and provincial departments. According to the agreement, the provision gives support services from the Department of Social Development to SASSA. This support was continued until Sassa became independent to operate its functions. Many staff also transferred to Sassa but adequately trained staff is also required for smoothly running the operations.
These writers further claim that Nceba Matongosi, the coordinator of Black Sash says in an interview that SASSA hires mostly the same employees who are part of the effective grant administration system as it is the most convenient way to solve the problem of Sassa staffing. The majority of the operational staff transferred to who was responsible for the administration of the core business but it does not mean that all the methods of securing service of a high standard which is beyond reproach. According to the Sassa design, vision, and mission, it is expected from all the employees that all should provide services at their excellence level.
The Centrelink Australian social security model established in 1997 is nearly identical to Sassa. During Centrelink’s establishment, the many federal administration institutes merged together with the staff of social security and employment departments to establish a new independent agency just like Sassa according to the South African context. The main purpose is to fight against illegal activities and protect and free the system from fraud (Reddy & Sokomani, 2008:52). In the South African context, the merging of different provincial departments in the form of one independent agency is the Sassa.
Traits of Sassa
According to Reddy and Sokomani(2008: 82) “In 2006 to 2007, the 80% of SASSA resources were spent for the purpose of establishing the agency”. According to the Taylor Committee) “The Sassa is established as a result of a recommendation made by the commission of inquiry so that a comprehensive social system with proper security is established for South Africa”. His establishment ensures the following main function to perform accurately, Efficiently, and effectively.
- management, administration, and payment of social assistance
- social security and rendering payment
- Administer social assistance
- maintain and administer information related to payment
- Processing national database (for payment management and funds transfer)
- Established social security system (prevent fraud and illegal activities)
- It is headed by a CEO
- CEO reports directly about all the activities to the Minister (Olivier, Mpedi, and Jordaan, 2009:63
- Maintain human dignity
- provide social security
- honest, impartial, fair, and equitable service delivery
- provide consultation to applicants
- financial penalties if anyone does not follow the agency agreement
The Sassa Organisational is distributed in four tiers, namely a
- head office
- regional office
- district office
- local office
Sassa consists of one head office and nine other regional offices. All the decisions come from the head office to regional offices.
A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) manages the Agency as an in-charge entity that is situated at the national level in Pretoria. Through a properly determined code of conduct, the CEO and minister make a decision and the minister has a right to override any decision taken by the CEO.
Other regional offices:
The regional offices are located in each region, which is headed by the regional executive manager: namely Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Free-State, Gauteng, North West, KwaZulu Natal, and Mpumalanga. Each region comprises various district that contains district offices and the districts further comprise various local areas that contain various local offices. Each district office has its own district manager but all local offices do have not local office managers.
The administration’s purpose is only to fulfill the principles into practice and transform the promise of the law into actual results (Strydom, 2006:235). Sassa works under the legislative framework which regulates its mandate. The most important pieces of legislation are as under:
- The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996, and the Bill of Rights, Section 27
- The South African Social Security Agency Act No. 9 of 2004 (provides provision for the administration, management, and payment of social grants)
- The Social Assistance Act No. 13 of 2004 (prescribes the manner to execute Sassa functions)
- The Public Finance Management Act No. 1 of 1999 (regulates financial management like managing expenditure, revenue, assets, and liabilities)
- The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act No. 3 of 2000 (administrative rights)
- The Promotion of Access to Information Act No. 2 of 2000 (right to access information)
PROCESS of Grant Administration ( Sassa services from application to approval)
The grant application process goes through the following different stages from the point of application or contact to the final point in which it is decided whether the grant is approved or disapproved. The process includes:
Screening-During screening Sassa checks all the documentation that is required for the application. For example ID, medical assessment, receipt document, etc.
Attesting- During this Sassa checks the documents, interviews customers, and captures data on SOCPEN to prevent misconception and fraud.
Quality control -Sassa ensures completeness of the application form and documentation to the legislative requirements for processing the application to step further.
Verification – Here information passes through the verification process and the final decision of whether the application is approved or rejected on SOCPEN by issuing the result of the application.
Here, you can access and download a PDF version containing a comprehensive overview of the SASSA grant, outlining its functions, legislative framework, and other pertinent details.
The main focus of Sassa is to design, administer, and manage the grant in such a way that beneficiaries do not get into trouble regarding their grant processing. SASSA follows similar development trends just like Centrelink in Australia. However, according to the researcher’s opinion,’ it is not necessary that the concept like Centrelink also worked well in a first-world environment just like in third-world country such as South Africa.